Published: Tue, April 09, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

South Korea Launches Commerical 5G Network

South Korea Launches Commerical 5G Network

In the US, Verizon customers with unlimited data plans in parts of Minneapolis and Chicago can get speeds of up to 1Gbps on a limited number of phones for an extra US$10 (S$13.50) a month.

"SK Telecom today announced that it has activated 5G services for six celebrities representing Korea as of 11pm, April 3, 2019", the country's biggest mobile operator said in a news release yesterday.

Regular customers in capital Seoul and some other major cities will be able to sign up for 5G services starting on Friday.

Carriers say tablets are capable of downloading data than present 4G devices, which in theory will enable users to download picture files nearly immediately.

According to experts, communication technology will allow the nearly instantaneous connection in mobile phones, that is, 20 times faster than with the previous generation, so users can download movies in less than one second.

Rival US carrier AT&T deployed what it called its 5G E network in 12 cities a year ago with speeds faster than 4G networks but below those being deployed in other fifth-generation systems. According to Yonhap, South Korea started 5G services two hours before the US.

SK Telecom is working with its memory-chip making affiliate SK Hynix to build a highly digitised and connected factory powered by 5G technology, Ryu said.

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"It is meaningful that South Korean telecom companies are providing services and networks meeting South Korean customers' high standard in speed and picture quality", Ryu Young-sang, executive vice president at the country's top mobile carrier SK Telecom, said on Wednesday.

"5G's hyper speed can connect one million devices within a one square kilometre zone simultaneously", KT said in a report.

In Japan, 5G is expected to become available in some parts of the country in the summer at the earliest.

The telecoms have been in a fierce fight with their U.S. rivals.

Samsung was the first to unwrap a 5G phone in February when it unveiled the Galaxy S10 5G and a almost US$2,000 folding smartphone, putting the world's top smartphone maker by volume in pole position in the 5G race, some analysts say.

None of South Korea's three network operators would say how much they have invested in 5G, but Seoul's economy minister Hong Nam-ki estimate it would be at least $2.6 billion this year alone.

World estimates predict that 5G service will generate incomes by 2035 $3.5 billion United States dollars and 22 million jobs worldwide.

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